Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Gift of Wisdom and The Curse of Co-Dependency

I have both. Unfortunately.

I had never considered that I had the gift of wisdom until earlier this year, around Easter. A dear woman spoke a word over me about Lady Wisdom from Proverbs, and how the Lord showed her that I was like this woman. And peering into my life, I see that I do, indeed, have this gift. I can't get a big head about it, though, because it is a GIFT. I didn't earn it, and it certainly doesn't come from always learning things the easy way (which is a nice way to say that I sin a lot).

I also can't brag about this gift because "Hi, I'm Amanda, and I'm in recovery for co-dependency and anger." "Hi, Amanda. We're glad you're here." (This is what I say at Celebrate Recovery, fyi.)

The problem is this: I have the gift of wisdom, but because I am a co-dependent, I want to fix people--I want to give them solutions to their problems. I want to "help" them--"help" because it is more about me than it is about them. It gives me a sense of control and superiority instead of a sense of love and humility to be used by God. And if they fail to take my advice, anger inevitably follows. That loss of control, that loss of superiority makes me feel powerless, and anger gives me the power I need to triumph in the situation (this is not true, it is just how I think). Herein lies my problem.

Now, I know I don't ALWAYS operate out of my co-dependency. Thank God! I'm grateful for the Holy Spirit and the ways He has used my gifts to bring Himself glory. But I often, in order to gratify my flesh, find myself wielding advice that no one asked for, taking on burdens that are not mine to carry, and worrying over other people's decisions (that, of course, I wouldn't have made).

In the same breath, I can say that people routinely seek my counsel. I'm learning, though, that I am not their personal prophet. I am Abba's child, used of Him, and it is my desire to point them to HIM like John the Baptist did--"He must increase, but I must decrease." I've found in the past that I will speak the wisdom of the Lord over someone's situation, but He is not the focal point, my wisdom is. So, in that, I must say that I have robbed my Father of His glory.

My prayer now is that when I am asked for my wisdom in a situation, I will first seek Him. I will speak His words, but I will conclude with the statement, "But you must seek Him and His will--you must test and weigh what I say with the Holy Spirit; and you must get your full direction from Him. I am here to edify and encourage you towards Him, not towards myself."

I also must say that as I have been learning about myself for the past couple of years, I have also learned that I don't like it when people try to fix me. I'm sure others feel the same way when I do this to them! Novel!!! I have had to set boundaries in several areas of my life where I do not give myself the opportunity to fix others, nor do I allow others to fix me. Only Jesus can be what I need. Only He can heal my pain, my anger, my co-dependency, and in realizing that, I see that only He can do this for others as well; I am not qualified.

That is a load off my mind.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Call Me "The Homeschooling Hermit"

Cooler weather has come to our region and with it, I am finding myself becoming a hermit. It is much easier for me to stay at home than it is for me to get out and drive somewhere. Maybe I'm nesting. It's not normal nesting, though, because I'm not cleaning anything or preparing anything for the babies. I'm mostly just living my life, quietly. That, and I feel like (and measuring like!) I'm 32-33 weeks instead of nearly 25, so moving around is becoming a challenge...and I still have 2-3 months of this.

School is going well, and I enjoy this time each day with my big kids. Lucy is still a struggle during schooltime, but the world hasn't ended because of it. Maryn is reading better and better each day, and I'm in awe of how quickly she picks up new things. Sam has learned SO much this year so far. We have been schooling for 3 months nearly, and he is soaking it all up.

This doesn't mean that we don't have bad days. In fact, for awhile there, it seemed like our bad days were more frequent than our good days. A lot of it has to do with my attitude and how I respond to him. I'm learning that being matter-of-fact is more effective than getting annoyed or irritated when he refuses to do something. Some days, school takes WAY longer than it should because we have to stop, correct behavior or attitude, redo whatever lesson we were working on, and then move forward.

All in all, he has learned far more than I bargained for. Someone once told me that kindergarten (or was it pre-k?) is really a lesson in learning to stand in line. They don't learn much more than that.

I beg to differ.

Sam has learned to read with better proficiency, is tackling long vowels like a champ, has learned to count to 100 by 1's and 10's, he is learning to add, he is learning basic fractions this week, he is learning how to write properly, he has memorized 10 verses and the Lord's Prayer. All of this and so much more in 3 months. Seriously. I don't say this to brag at all. I say this because I think kids really want to learn more and the more you work with them, they will surprise you with what they're capable of! Their brains are amazing. Our Creator deserves all glory for His amazing creation!

I think it is limiting to them to say that all they will learn is how to stand in line. They are capable of so much more. And they do take pride in their accomplishments. Sam gets excited when he learns something new, and it is fun to watch him apply it throughout the day. It's very rewarding. I realize he could have learned all of this stuff in a traditional school, but I am amazed that he is learning all of this stuff from ME. I never, in a million years, thought I would be teaching my kids at home. But I am thankful for the opportunity, even if this is the only year I do it (we will reevaluate in the summer and see how life with twins is treating us).

I may not be out and about and taking the world by storm, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to stay home with my kids, teach them, and enjoy watching them be kids. I know I'm very blessed to be in this position, and I try not to take it for granted.

I'm off to spruce up the home, welcome Lucy's speech therapist, and begin my day in the hermitage. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Expectations of the Expectant Mother

Time is passing rather quickly, it seems. The first day of Fall is on Wednesday, and after that season passes, my babies will be here. It is hard to believe I have between 3-4 months left.

I feel anticipation and anxiousness when I think about going into labor. I am excited for them to arrive, but I don't want them to come too early. The longer they stay in, the healthier they'll be. There is that in-between waiting that is just hard. I am growing by the second, and I have a hard time imagining what I'm going to look like in December.

Deformed. I'm sure I'll look deformed.

That's okay; I have a good reason. :)

I've also found that I've been much more quiet about this pregnancy. I rarely call the boys by their names to other people. I don't know why. I just say "the boys." I think perhaps I am savoring the knowledge of the two of them in my womb. Since I get to have ultrasounds so frequently, I have a pretty good handle on where each boy is positioned. I can think of them in terms of "Felix just kicked me," or "Milo has the hiccups." It's a special bond between the three of us.

I wonder what they'll look like. Will they be identical? Will one of them have red hair like Sam? Will they look different enough that I don't confuse them?

Sam and Maryn are excited about their arrival. I'm a bit nervous for Lucy. She is a mama's girl, and I wonder if she'll be too jealous or clingy. I hope not. I hope she'll be excited to run and get me things I need. We are planning to move her into Sam and Maryn's room in the next few weeks. The party will probably last for a month or two. I'm hoping she is secure and sleeping well in their room by the time Felix and Milo arrive.

I'm holding out hope for help. I am praying that God will send some people to help us with the older children and meals. I really DON'T want people to come who just want to hold the babies; I want REAL HELP. I will be spending a lot of my time feeding the boys, and it would be nice to know that my other children are not running around like crazy people.

I'm so thankful for God's grace in all this. He knows what we need, and I can see that it won't be easy, but I know HE will be faithful to us and help us when we need it. He's a really good Father.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus!

I've been thinking about sorrow and grief multiple times over the last month. I've had three friends miscarry their sweet babies, and hearing that news just never gets easier.

It's also been on my mind a lot because the baby I lost would have been due this week. I've thought so many times about how I would have been close to delivery, eagerly anticipating his/her arrival, and our lives would be changed again. Watching my friends walk through the journey without me has not been easy; in fact, it has just sucked. I certainly wish no ill will on anyone, and I am happy for them; it's just hard to watch them knowing that I won't get to experience that with the baby I lost. I think I am in the final stage of grief, and I think this too shall pass as this date passes me by.

I miss that little baby, conceived in love and commitment, created for a purpose. I was honored to be his/her mommy for just a short amount of time. But, I'm still sad. Even with two wiggly boys in my womb right now, I still feel the loss of that precious one. Just because I was able to conceive again doesn't mean that the love and memory of that precious one has been erased. I will never forget that sweet child.

Last night, after hearing of another friend miscarrying, I began thinking of Jesus, dying on the cross, becoming sin for us and carrying our sorrows. Isaiah 53 says,

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of man, understands the grief and sorrow that comes with loss of a child. Because of His great sacrifice on the cross, He acquainted himself with these very griefs. He experienced ALL of it on the cross. He is the ideal one to carry us through the grief and sorrow ourselves. I am so thankful for this beautiful gift--one who can understand perfectly what I am going through because He has ALREADY CARRIED IT for me. I can lean on Him and trust Him in my sorrow.

Occasionally, I will still have a sad moment, but through it all, the overwhelming and predominant feeling in the midst of sorrow has been JOY. JOY in Him--that He loves me, that He would carry my burdens, that He is my strength, that He is my hope. I pray that my friends experience this Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus. I pray that they are touched by His Joy and can be filled with it in the midst of their own sorrow.

We are healed by His stripes. We are whole in Him. We lack nothing. We have everything. All will be restored. All will be made new. Praise Him!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Brain Niblets

I'm having some blogger block today. It will probably end up being a bullet point list. Yes, it will.

  • 22 Weeks yesterday--went to the doc, measuring 30 weeks. Boys look good. Blood pressure is awesome--100/60. Altogether uneventful. 15 weeks until term.
  • Dealing with an overachieving child is difficult, especially when he's learning new material in school and is easily frustrated when he doesn't get the answers right the first time.
  • I have a throbbing headache in the base of my skull.
  • It is best to put away the dishes while the toddler is asleep. This prevents her from getting into the dishwasher and making messes.
  • Doing things for others is rewarding unless you do them out of obligation, then it is just exhausting. Note to self: next time, you will say "no."
  • We have one episode of Lost left and then the finale. I'm ready.
  • Does anyone else think Benjamin Linus is the Island's version of Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder version)?
  • I have really missed my husband this week. He has been working so much, and I can tell he's exhausted and drained. I'm looking forward to this weekend with him.
  • I am currently frustrated that Lucy will not play outside for more than 3 seconds without crying, wanting back in only to go right back out.
  • I have appreciated the rain we've received the last few days. It was much needed, and I am hoping our trees don't dry up and change colors like they've been doing so far.
  • I just got sad realizing that the next holiday Dave gets off is Christmas. He hasn't had a holiday off since...Memorial Day. Sheesh. That was three months ago.
  • The good news is that the work day is almost done, and all my favorite people in the world will be under one roof.
Have a good weekend!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Dabor

It is Labor Day, and I can't think of Labor Day without remembering this old Strong-Bad email from Homestar Runner. Just for a laugh, you know?

Check it out HERE.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Names and Meanings

We have notified our families of our names for our boys. So now, it is your turn (though you might've already seen it on Facebook. Took me a little longer to get on here.)


Felix Josiah
Milo Zane

Now, what you didn't get on Facebook are the meanings of the names. Dave and I are pretty insistent that our children have meaningful names that speak over their lives. We believe that a "good name is rather to be chosen than great riches" (Proverbs 22:1).

Felix means "blessed, happy, fortunate". This name is not only rock awesome, it is so true. This little boy is a blessing to us and will be to others. His middle name, Josiah, has a few meanings. I saw two prevalent ones: "fire of the Lord" and "Jehovah heals". This name is especially meaningful. The fire of the Lord brings power and purity. "Our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). Also, Jehovah does heal. In our pain of losing our sweet baby in January, the Lord healed us. Then, He granted us a double blessing beyond anything we could have imagined. We are so thankful for Felix Josiah.

Milo means "merciful" and one book I saw said "generous". His middle name, Zane, means "God is gracious". We believe this child is a gift of God's mercy and grace. We are so thankful that God blessed us with Milo Zane in His grace and mercy. We didn't deserve anything, but He lavished this gift of ANOTHER boy on us.

We are so humbled and grateful for these gifts!!!

We know most people don't think about meaning when they say a name. But when we say our children's names, we can't help but think about what their names represent for them.

When I speak "Samuel", I am declaring that my son will hear the Lord!!! I want him to hear the Holy Spirit clearly and not live in fear.

When I speak "Maryn", I say she is "desired"--by Jesus and by her parents. I also speak that she is "of the sea"--hopefully one who gives her life to those beyond this land.

And when I say "Lucy", I am calling her "light". She will shine forth in radiance for Jesus.

We love our kids' names, but the meanings surpass the popularity or lack thereof. I pray you will start to see your own name and your children's in the same way.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm a Failure, and It's Okay.

I think I probably fail more than I succeed. I attribute this to being human. I am not without error. How I handle failure is often more telling of my beliefs than the actual failures themselves.

I think we're scared of the word "failure". We've been taught not to call ourselves that because then we can't "do whatever we put our minds to". I don't think we need to be scared of it. Failure is inevitable. We're all going to mess up; we've all sinned. We're all imperfect and wicked at times. We think impure thoughts, we get angry and murder people in our minds, and we willfully do the wrong thing--over and over.

Why are we scared to fail? Is it because we're afraid of what people will think of us when we announce that we failed? Or is it because we know we're not "good enough" for God?

Take comfort, friends.

You're not good enough for God...on your own.

Knowing Jesus makes you good enough in EVERY way. Despite your human failures, the blood of Jesus shines through, His grace covers, and His love overwhelms every single failure.

Did you know that Jesus BECAME sin on the cross? He didn't just carry it--HE BECAME SIN. What does that mean for us? Every single failure--He became it. He put to death those failures, and He rose victorious over them. Because He did that, we also died to them and rose victorious over them.

So, I sinned today. You did too. We both failed.


we trust in His death and resurrection over those sins, and we can rise to walk in His victorious life.

He's not mad at us.
He's not disappointed in us.
He's not surprised at us.

He's pleased with us.
He's rejoicing over us.
He knows us intimately.
He loves us.

So stop acting like He's a meanie out to get you. You couldn't be further from the truth.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

21 Weeks--16 to go!!!

I go to the doctor next week. I have gained 19 lbs so far. I need to gain 5 more lbs. in the next 3 weeks to meet the quota of 24 lbs in 24 weeks. Evidently, if you gain less than 24 lbs in 24 weeks, your chances of preterm labor increase significantly. I think I can do it! :)

The boys are moving quite a bit these days. They really enjoy dinner time and bed time. We have decided on first names but no middle names yet. I will announce them here whenever we tell our families what we've chosen.

We just hope no one is negative about the names...we've been down that road before!

37 weeks is my goal. If they stay in a bit longer, I won't mind (even though the discomfort will make me mind!!!). I pray they're both over 6 lbs and good nursers!!!

I will definitely update after my appointment next week. I'm looking forward to the ultrasound. It's so fun to see them on there, wiggling around and waving at me. :)